Welcome to our family magazine

Welcome to the first issue of Dialann, our family magazine. We hope that this is the beginning of not just a new chore or habit for our family, but the start of a tradition and a fun activity that we can all work on together.

Why a family magazine?

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long counseled members to write and maintain a regular journal. A search for the word journal on the Church’s official Web site, lds.org, yields numerous articles on this topic that have been printed in the Church’s magazines over the past four decades. One of these, “The Angels May Quote from It” by President Spencer W. Kimball, was first published in The New Era in October 1975 and then reprinted in that magazine in February 2003. In this article, President Kimball writes:

Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.

As much as Susan and I hate to admit it, we’ve not been the best at keeping a journal in our marriage. In short, we’ve not kept one at all. Sure, we’ve recorded important events in our lives—our wedding, trips we’ve taken, and so on. But we’ve never had a systematic, organized way to do it, which means that we’ve never established a regular habit of it. And now, with the addition of Fiona to our family, the need to make a record our lives, including the exciting and exceptional as well as the quotidian and mundane, is more urgent than ever.

So in this new year we have resolved to begin a family journal. We decided that it should take the form of a family magazine for a number of reasons. We felt that a journal in this format would be more fun than blank pages waiting to be filled with lines of text—and if it’s more fun, we’re more likely to do it and make a habit of it. We plan on publishing this magazine through Blurb, which means it will be of a high quality, and we will be able to easily get reprints of it whenever we choose, in case of loss or other factors. A family magazine will more easily allow us to include photos and creative use of text and layouts—more engaging and “multimedia,” if you will. And that means that not only will it be more interesting now but also in years to come, and something we will be more likely to look at and read decades from now.

We hope to publish Dialann on a quarterly basis, in January, April, July, and October. Each issue will be approximately 20 pages (the minimum number of pages required by Blurb to produce a publication in this format) and will highlight our lives in text and photos over the previous three months. (This issue, being our first and fairly closely following Fiona’s birth, will actually cover the past six months since she was born.)

Why the name?

In situations such as these, choosing a name tends to be the most simple and yet most difficult decision to be made. After all, how do you choose a title that accurately reflects not only what you’re trying to accomplish but also your motives and hopes as you complete your task? In the end, this is our journal, and the best word to summarize this effort is just that—journal.

But that’s a boring title. So we repeated what we did the last time we had to decide on an important name: Fiona. We looked to our Irish heritage. Dialann is Irish for “journal.”

We are very excited about this new endeavor. It intimidates us some; it’s a lot to take on in our lives that are already so busy with other activities. But we are putting our trust in the counsel of the Lord’s prophets and hoping that we truly will be blessed as we undertake this effort.

This article appeared on page 2 of Issue 1 | January 2011.

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